Japanese brands are brewed lighter, and they also use less sugar. Generally they use milk and perhaps some cream, but no sweetened condensed milk. It is surprisingly low calorie, considering how rich and delicious it tastes. A 500 mL bottle contains 175-215 calories. Mmmmmm. Writing this is making me thirsty...I'm cracking one open now! :)
I can go to a 7-Eleven (24 hours) or similar, grab one, wave my wallet by an Octopus Card scanner, and BUH-BYE! --- I have a yummy snack to chill for later. Kick. Ass.
In the US, I can sometimes get the Kirin on the left below. But I haven't been able to get any at all, for over 6 months. Even the Super 88 stores don't have it. It's just not as popular as iced coffee. And nobody wants to see me that caffeinated! Here I can get many kinds, so I decided to do a taste-test.
The rules are simple. They must all be at the same ice-cold temperature. They must be a Japanese brand, but in addition they can be brewed/bottled in Singapore or some place where I can drink the water without getting deathly ill. I don't want that lead-paint aftertaste from Guangdong milk tea please. Just kidding. I haven't tried that. Maybe it's great. And heavy.
The winner of Most Disgusting Name goes to The Pungency, of course. It is a little stronger than the normal Kirin, but both are light and made by Kirin.
The Pungency has a little more tea flavor, the same sweetness, and slightly more sweetness. None of these changes are worth trekking out to find the more obscure Pungency. Also, the regular Kirin has fewer calories and roughly the same flavor. Both Kirin brands use extremely high quality brewed teas...you can really taste that.
Pokka tastes a little richer and creamier. It has a less tannic tea taste. It has a few more calories too.
So the overall winner is: The normal Kirin. This is a delicious milk tea, and it is light and relatively low calorie. As a bonus, it is the easiest to find. They are all great. But none are stunningly better than the others, so normal Kirin for the win!
I will celebrate with a (hopefully) limited-edition Donald Duck labelled normal Kirin. Cheers!